Did we spot you on Aug. 25, 2019, in the Oregon District at Gem City Shine, hosted by Dave Chappelle and featuring performances by Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper, Thundercat and more? TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Photo: Tom Gilliam
Photo: Tom Gilliam

Gem City Shine: ‘It was filled with love, it was filled with spirit’

While the amount of money the Gem City Shine event raised wasn’t yet known Monday, the emotional impact of “reclaiming the Oregon District” after the Aug. 4 mass shooting was more evident.

Susan Bavaro, co-owner of the Oregon Express, said the pub on Sunday had “the most amazing day we’ve ever had.”

“It was filled with love, it was filled with spirit, and it represented everything that Dayton is all about,” Bavaro said.

PHOTOS: Did we spot you at Gem City Shine?

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said she was grateful the star-studded event brought the city together.

“It was very diverse, very Dayton,” Whaley said.

Crowd estimates varied for the party that featured Stevie Wonder, Jon Stewart, Chance the Rapper and many more celebrities.

Whaley said she heard police estimates of 30,000 to 35,000 people who came. Live Nation, the event promoter, estimated a crowd of 20,000 to 25,000.

Dave Chappelle, the nationally known comedian and Yellow Springs resident, organized the event to raise money for victims and survivors of the the Oregon District shooting in which a gunman killed nine people before he was killed by Dayton police.

“Dave Chappelle is such a generous human. It was great for him to champion the city in this way,” Whaley said.

Whaley said it was nice to see people come together on Sunday, waiting patiently in long lines and showing love to strangers.

Whaley said at one point she went to the second floor of the Dublin Pub and looked out on to the thousands of people gathered for the block party.

MORE: Gem City Shine draws thousands, only 2 arrests reported

“Just seeing the sheer number of people who had come together was the most amazing thing,” Whaley said.

Whaley said she also was touched by a moment during the event when rapper Teyana Taylor showed a video of those who were killed in the Oregon District shooting during her performance.

Big day for bars, restaurants

The Trolley Stop, which was close to Gem City Shine’s stage, told customers Monday morning they would be forced to open late on Monday, at 3 p.m. rather than its usual 11 a.m., in order to re-stock.

“Somehow, we’ve run out of everything!” the restaurant-bar said on its Facebook page.

Nearly every restaurant and bar had a line to get in. Several ran out of food.

Jay’s Seafood had initially told its customers on its Facebook page that it would would be open for business as usual Sunday night, but later apologized and said the restaurant was closed, not open, for dinner service.

MORE: Stevie Wonder headlines massive party in Oregon District

“You cannot get into our restaurant — it is all gated off,” the restaurant wrote on its page.

Dana Downs, owner of Roost Italian restaurant, decided to serve only appetizers and salads.

“That worked well,” Downs said. “The full menu wouldn’t have worked because people wanted to move fast. People were very polite, but the city did not have enough restrooms. That’s what I heard from everyone.”

The Dublin Pub was “very, very busy,” owner Steve Tieber said, but he was even more impressed with the atmosphere, which he said was something he will cherish for the rest of his life.

“I cannot describe how appreciative I am for what Dave Chappelle put together, and all of the other entities that had a hand in it,” Tieber said. “All of the people here in Dayton who donated their time, and all of the people who came to Dayton to send a message and to create some healing.

“I’ve never seen such selfless actions in my entire life.”

Police praise patience

Only two arrests happened during the event, Dayton police said. Officers arrested a couple who were fighting and then assaulted police officers when approached at the Gem City Shine event, according to police reports.

“We appreciate the community’s patience and kindness during this event and over the last few weeks,” said Dayton police spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace in a written statement. “The number of people who stop us frequently just to express appreciation has been both heartwarming and inspiring.”

Dayton police don’t yet know how much the event cost for overtime.

Christine Smith, Dayton Foundation marketing and public relations vice president, said it is not yet clear how much money was raised. The Dayton Foundation’s offices are moving this week, and funds have not been totaled.

Right place for wrong shoes

Oregon District businesses reported strong sales, according to Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

“All the feedback we have received from the business is that they were just very appreciative,” Gudorf said.

The co-owner of Feathers Vintage Clothing said shoes were in high demand. Many women stopped by realizing they wore the wrong shoes for a long day on their feet.

Gudorf said her organization, a nonprofit funded primarily by a Special Improvement District that provides services to businesses in the Oregon District and downtown Dayton, intends to continue to help businesses recover.

“This has been difficult time for them (businesses) as well as the families of the victims and the community,” Gudorf said. “We will continue to work with them.”

Whaley agreed that the day was significant for the businesses and the community after Memorial Day tornadoes and the Aug. 4 shooting in the Oregon District.

“This is our space and no one is going to take that away from us,” Whaley said. “We’ve had all different kinds of pain this summer, so having something like this was important.”

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